EPI-Search as a Virtual Reference Librarian

Institute for the Study of Coherence and Emergence has created a search engine for researches to find more documents on a subject based on a block of text – EPI-Search.

On the sample search EPI Search draws from its own library, and on searches in Google, Google Scholar, Cite Seer, DeepDyve, JSotr and some others.

Search Engine Adds Context to Web Queries, Newsbreaks (Dec 3)

Of interest: “The Institute for the Study of Coherence and Emergence (ISCE) launched EPI-Search, a service it calls the internet’s first virtual reference librarian. EPI-Search is designed to provide the contextual expertise of reference librarians who have been replaced by internet searches.”

Good as this may be, I’d still like to talk with a human reference librarian.

Privatelee Searching

If you have been shocked by an advertisement popping up that relates directly to something you were researching (whether for shopping or not), you will want to look at Privatelee, a new search engine that says it does not set trackable cookies or store your IP address.

Press release What your readers can do to ensure their Internet searches are kept private (August 2013) has an infographic showing how cookies on your computer contribute to building a profile about you. Did you know – “Most sites set multiple cookies on your PC, many of those are intended to track you. They are like tracking beacons that help advertising companies track you across the web.”?

Artiicle describes the role of search engines  in creating that profile  – it may be anonymous, but it is stlll your profile.

There are only 5 search engines that offer  privacy.  This list of Private Search Engines  compares Privatelee to DuckDuckGo, Qrobe.it, Startpage, Ixquick.

Privatelee (https://privatelee.com) has a very simple interface for searching web and images. There is also Popular – which seems to be stories from Reddit.

There are shortcuts for running searches  at Google or Bing: get results from those engines without the tracking. Users can set search to country of preference.

The chevron to the right of a result opens to sharing, saving, shortening, translating, and – of interest – a safety assessment of the page from Google.

Search results page from Privatelee

Search results page from Privatelee

Zeekly – very good

Zeekly - a new search engine that promises privacy.  It’s a metasearch engine that pulls from Google, Yahoo, Bing, Amazon, Youtube, iTunes etc; but it also has its own crawler and building its own index.

Key line is “…  we do not store a history of your search activity (search terms & sites visited), and our site is running on 2048-bit SSL encryption to insure your web searches are private and protected from others.”

Zeekly is  multilingual, supporting search in many languages, and easily limited by country.  it also offers many resources.

zeekly-2013

I was quite impressed with search results from Canada. There is some syntax: site/ domain, “phrase”, – to exclude

Safe Searching with Ixquick

For fully private searching, head to Ixquick and its sister site, Startpage. These do not record IP address or track search queries. The only cookie it uses is to save search preferences you set up.

Ixquick used to search several engines at one time. These are no longer shown as choices but stars on results indicate Blekko, Gigablast, Yahoo as current sources. Some grouping is still available by selecting Power Refinement on the Settings page – it “enables clustering of shown web results”.

Startpage forwards your query to Google – without your IP number – and returns results free of the personalization that Google applies.

“Search Suggestions” is an option on the Settings page for both. Ixquick doesn’t use a log of user queries as other engines do, but picks from broad resources on the web such as dictionaries or common pages.

Other security features include secure socket layer, and not passing  search terms to websites.

Usage of Startpage climbed to 2 million queries a day in mid-2012.

Customizing Search Choice with Soovle

If you like a customized page of search engines rather than dealing with bookmarks (or your memory), Soovle might be the tool for you. Pick your tool, then search.  Soovle starts with a basic set of Yahoo, Google, Bing, Amazon, YouTube, Answers.com, Wikipedia. You can changes these or add more from an engines list that includes Russian and Chinese.  I don’t see a way  to add an engine that is not on the Soovle list.

Soovle search page

  • As you enter keywords, Soovle fills the screen with suggested queries and shows the top result.  (Doesn’t show well in Firefox.)
  • You can save your search queries.
  • The saved search box has a link to Google Trends – another way to explore the topic or analyze the keywords.
  • Soovle picks up the history of queries for the day done at the engines. (Cannot think of a good use for this.)

Soovle simply directs the search to the target engine. It doesn’t bypass any personalization  that Google or Bing might apply.

Soovle was reviewed in Better Searches on the Internet with Soovle by Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter (Dec 22)

Social Buzz from Social Searcher

Social Searcher – new search engine for getting “social buzz” at all our favourite places – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, and even MySpace.
Tabs introduce you to information about each tool with tips on constructing searches using the syntax of the engine. Social Searchers will help you set up search plugins for these tools as well.
The meta search available through Social Buzz is especially useful.
Select from three tools – Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ – type of search (photos, links, video, status), popularity. and filter by country. Get the results and then view the analytics.
Very interesting set of results for environmental review canada as the federal government removes the requirement for environmental review on 1000s of projects. Analytics show activity by domain, keywords, and top users.
Very promising real time / social search tool.

All-in-one for Searching Creative Commons

Search Creative Commons offers an all-in-one place entry point to materials that may be under a creative commons usage license. Enter search terms, and select a service – images: Flickr, Fotopedia, Google Images, Open Clip Art Library; media: Europeana, SpinXpress, Wikimedia Commons; music – Jamendo; and Google Web. Examine the query it constructs on the service – you should see limitations according to license.
Very good place to start your search for material that is under CC License.

Spruse becomes a blog

Spruse – once a meta search engine that picked up social media is now a technology and news blog with very little content. Innovative search services are really struggling to get enough money to get enough following to survive.